Графични страници
PDF файл


[ocr errors]

" and contempt, pity for such a degradation of my talents, « and contempt for such a proof of my malevolence. Now I consider him as a person of ability, not at all inferior to what he is pleased to ascribe to me, and of a naturally ingenuous and good disposition, but miserably misled by high church prejudices; in consequence of which he has hastily taken up a business to which neither his talents, nor those or any other man, are equal. I have, however, so good an opinion of his candour, as to be persuaded that, after some time, he will see these matters in a very different light from what he does at present; and if, when he is perfe&ly cool, he would read even my controverial writings, he would entertain a very different opinion both of them, and of myself, than he does at present.

Notwithstanding the frightful piqure Mr. Madan gives of me, he says, p. 6, that he can “ meet me, except in the “ light of cavil and disputation, not only with civility, but " with pleasure and good will." I hope, therefore, that he was not perfectly serious in what he has said of me. For if I knew any person of such a character as he describes mine to be, I should certainly never with to meet him at all. I should always suspect him of some mischievous intention or other, and be continually in dread of his power. After such a picture as he has drawn, I should naturally look for the horns, the tail, and the cloven foot, as proper accompaniments of the character. Nay I should not chuse to have much to do with any person who considered me in such a light; conscious as I am to myself, that my character and conduct are very different from what he conceives them to be.

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]


Of Mr. Madan's Apology for his Treatment of the Diflenters.

My Friends and Neighbours, MR.

TR. Madan is willing, in his second publication, to

soften, in some measure, his censure of the Diflenters in general, as persons of a turbulent disposition, feditious, republicans, and king killers, by repeatedly asserting that he only meant the chief leaders of the party. But the expressions that he particularly quotes, as most liable to suspicion, are those of the Resolutions of the distriet meeting at Leicester, which were by no means the language of the heads of a party, but were approved, and unanimously adopted, by a very large body of Diflenters, of all denominations, in no less than nine contiguous counties. These Resolutions he has annexed at large to his Sermon, by which he certainly did not mean to give any favourable idea of them.

Now these Resolutions are exactly similar to those that were passed in all other parts of England; so that any censure of them, must necessarily apply to the great body of Disfenters, and not to a few only. We do not thank Mr. Madan for excepting fome individuals among the Dissenters from his virulent accusation of the whole body, because it is well known there are no large bodies of men without some well disposed individuals; and I appeal to the whole town, and to Mr. Madan's own hearers, if the impression left by his Sermon was not in the highest degree unfavourable to the whole body of Dissenters, and therefore whether it was not deserving (considering his justly respected character) of particular and indignant notice. However, his charges appeared to me so very absurd, that I treated them, as you have seen, rather with ridicule, than with anger ; whereas though his Letter abounds with wit, yet anger

whereas * Mr. Madan will perhaps construe this as a reflection upon him, on account of his youth, since he thinks, p. 20, that I meant something contemptuous by mentioning that circumitance both with respect to Mr. Pitt, and himself before ; whereas any impartial reader will see that I had no idea of the kind with respect to either of them. It is true, however, that I do not see any thing fo transcendant in the abilities of Mr. Pitt, as Mr. Madan does, p. 20, nor have I at present the favourable opinion that I once was willing to entertain of his heart, because I do not think that his condus in his high office fufficiently corresponds to his professions before he arrived at it.

eria dently predominates in it.

Upon the whole, I cannot help comparing Mr. Madan's conduct to that of a boy*, who should wantonly thrust his stick into a hive of quiet and industrious bees, and then think to walk off unhurt; not recollecting, that, inoffensive as they naturally are, they have stings, and are capable of resentment. Had he caught a few single bees by themselves, he might have crushed them without alarming the rest, and without any risk to himself at all. He does not, however, , deny but that he alluded to myself in particular, as one of those more violent Diflenters, on whoin his censure was intended to fall; and if he really took ine to be that malicious Being above described, he should not have trodden upon my cloven foot, or have kicked me so near to my tail, without remembering that I had horns, and he had none.

Besides, who are the violent Diffenters that Mr. Madan refers to, and how far can he be justified in ascribing their particular sentiments to the whole body of Diffenters ? My own sentiments, especially my religious ones, which are all that are concerned in this case, have been no where so unpopular as among the Dissenters themselves; and what Mr. Madan will not suspect, but what I know to be true, they gave the greatest offence to those who are commonly diftinguished by the appellation of rational Dissenters; and it is only of late that the case has begun to be a little otherwise. At one time there were not more than two or three pulpits in England that I considered as open to me.


With respect to my political publications, my late Letter to Mr. Pitt greatly displeased the Diflenters in general; and many of my own particular friends, those whom I have reason to value the most, have not yet forgiven it. But my whole history shews that it has not been my custom to court popularity, even among the Difsenters, much less to aspire to the emoluments, as Mr. Madan insinuates, p. 22, of the established church. If I did, my conduct has been ill adapted to gain my end.

As to the late application to parliament, I had nothing to do in suggesting it, and very little in promoting it. Nay, apprized of my extreme unpopularity, it is well known to all my friends, that I purposely kept out of the way, lest my presence should impede the bugness. All that I ever thought of doing was delivering the Sermon on the 5th of November last. And a discourse on some topic relating to public liberty being always expected on that day, and the usual topics of that kind being pretty much exhausted among us, I thought I might as well make choice of that subject, as any cther; and when I sat down to write, I was far from having any thoughts of publishing the discourse.

If Mr. Madan would have proved my real principles to be dangerous, he should have considered what I have written without a view to controversy, on the subject of government, especially my Lictures on the Study of Hijlory and General Policy, which I particularly pointed out to him. There he will find the principles that I taught when I was tutor at Warrington, those that are now taught at the new college in Hackney, at Northampton, and as I am informed in the colleges in North America. If Mr. Vladan had looked into those Ledures, which, from the circumitances above mentioned, he may suppose bid fair to contain such principles of government as will generally be taught to young men of fortune among us, he would have found them, indeed, to be favourable to liberty, but unfavourble to republicanism; and all my acquaintance know that I am even a zealous friend of a limited monarchy, such as our constitution is.


In a conversation I had last summer, at which Dr. Jackson, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, was present, I maintained the importance of three different powers in every well balanced state, with so much earneftness, that, with great good humour, he and the rest of the company rallied me, as being a trinitarian in pólitics, though an unitarian in religion. On this question I always took the part of Mr. Adams against Dr. Franklin, who was a favourer of a republican government; though even he was so well satisfied with our own, that I (who knew him well, if any man did) know that he would have facrificed every thing for the prefervation of it.

I fcruple not to say that I think the power of the brown to be at present much too great; but this does not affect my idea of the rcal use of a king. I am an enemy to the bierarchy, not only as antichriftian, but as a great means of giving the crown the undue influence it now has; in consequence of which the court can carry almost whatever measures they please.

While the clergy had a leaning to the Pretender, which continued till there were no more hopes of his succeeding to the crown, they served as a balance to the power of the crown? but, now they are wholly with it, and the influence of the Diffenters, which in all the late reigns was intirely with the court, has begun, in consequence of a series of unprovoked discouragements, to turn the other way, though still it is not generally so.

I am sorry to find Mr. Madan approving of the Extraits that were made from the preface to my Letters to Mr. Burn, and that " he thinks himself and the public, p. 12, indebted « to the ingenious editor of them, as forming a neat fyllabus “ of my constitutional principles;' and ipeaking ironically, "a fummary, yet full, evidence of my many public merits.” For by keeping out of fight erery thing that shewed I had nothing in view besides public discussion, that editor, and his abettors, must have meant to infinuate that I intended fomething of a more violent kind. For what is there alarming


« ПредишнаНапред »